Spiritual Spring 06: Embracing Acceptance and Forgiveness
Freedom through forgiveness.
Forgiveness is more than merely drawing a line in the sand; it's embracing self love over hatred, wisdom over revenge, acceptance over denial.
In numerous religious and spiritual circles, the importance of forgiveness has been emphasised for millennia. We all know that in order to forgive, one must let go of their grunge or ill feelings towards an individual, but how do people learn to give forgive themselves?
Ultimately, harbouring resentment for anyone, especially yourself, is damaging for the psyche at a mental, emotional and spiritual level. Often, when a person allows their anger towards an individual to grow, in their mind they think there is some kind of comeuppance being done to those who have wronged them. In actuality, the only person that is pained and tormented by this is usually the one harbouring these emotions.
Those who go through a particularly traumatic ordeal can have an extremely rough time processing their emotions; it can seem pretty much impossible to overcome the events that took place and the turbulence that occurred as a result.
They are not alone in this...
As someone who went through several traumatic experiences, and had secretly spent years battling anxiety and PTSD, I understand these feelings very well.
It took me a very long time to realise that I could no longer cling to my feelings of betrayal and resentment. Slowly, I was suffocating any shot I would have at being happy. I was self-destructing.
There were one or two people told me that I must forgive those who had wronged me - not for their sake, but for my own. I didn't fully understand nor care at the time. I just wanted my feelings acknowledged and the denial of their actions to cease.
After two or three sessions of meditating on my past and my feelings towards the events and individuals involved, I realised that I didn't hate them like I thought I did. That I didn't want them to hurt like I thought I did.
I couldn't hate them or hurt them because I knew they weren't 'the devil incarnate'. They were just people. People that had made some very poor decisions; some of which were influenced by their own traumas and the failures they saw growing up.
With others, I knew they had simply chosen self-indulgence over anything else, but that didn't mean they were happy... far from it. They too were suffocating their own existence. These individuals overfed the darkness within their own hearts to such an extent that they no longer can even recognise the light. They are now well and truly lost.
That's when I realised that in the long run, they have caused far more damage to their own spirit than they could have possibly done to mine. I saw that over time, what was initially weakened by them had strengthened. My resolve had grown through my pain, my courage had solidified and that nothing was going to stop me from crafting a life filled with love and light by my own hands.
Finally, I understood.
When I finally let go and chose to forgive in order to free myself from the shackles of the past, I felt a serenity that I had never experienced before. For the first time, I truly felt the inner peace that was spoken of in Buddhist teachings. There was no emotion other than a divine calmness and a sense of just being.
Of course, I didn't feel like this every day since but it did start to change the way I looked at things. I wasn't carrying any anger anymore, the loathing I felt for certain people had vanished. All because I chose not to embody these attributes anymore.
Yet, the work was far from over. While I knew I could and had forgiven others, (even before my realisation I had often forgiven acts that I didn't deem to be life-altering), I still hadn't learnt how to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made. In fact, I had demonised myself far more than anyone else... except maybe one or two people.
For a long time, deep down I felt as if I wasn't worthy of happiness due to certain actions and decisions I had made in the past. So for years I mentally and emotionally tortured myself. Then finally, I decided enough was enough.
If I truly wish to heal and free myself from the circumstances of the past, I have to learn to forgive myself. Firstly, to understand, secondly to accept and lastly to forgive.
To be completely honest, it's something I am still working on now. There's is one thing I can tell you though, it's absolutely a choice. Also, each time you sit down to go through and pull out the skeletons that you have knocking about in that dusty old closet, you begin to feel fresh air rushing back into the room.
Like most things, it's a process and it will take time. For some it may be easier than others, but for all of us I'd say it is vital to our wellbeing. So, there is no time like the present.
Some things to consider for when you meditate on your past:
Reflect on specific events and your decisions.
As objectively as possible, rationalise what happened and why you made those choices.
Understand what lead to this event e.g. triggers, chain reaction etc.
Know that we go through such experiences to learn vital lessons from our mistakes, not to be self-imprisoned by them.
Tell yourself that you forgive yourself for these things.
Don't just think it, feel it. Make a mantra around self-forgiveness.
Think of a positive action moving forward that can be done in counterbalance to the negative.
Or simply take steps to ensure that those mistakes are not repeated.
Remember, we are all part of the same whole, so ultimately it is always ourselves that we harm or protect. We have to resolve these issues and realign the karmic balance in ourselves in order to see it out in the world.
Remove denial, hated and fear, embrace responsibility, love and forgiveness. If we trust in the process, in our ability to heal, in our connection to higher frequencies and let go, we open ourselves up to greater possibilities and become a conduit for positive energies - and positive changes.
If you are reading this, and struggling with self-forgiveness, please let me just tell you that you are worthy of love, acceptance and forgiveness. All you need to do is embrace it in your heart and lay it bare to your true self. You don't have to hide anymore. One day you'll be looking into the mirror, beaming with love and light. It is still there waiting to meet you again.
Side note - thank you to all who have been sending me positive comments about these posts, I hope you find them useful and somewhat confronting on your most trying of days.